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Concentration

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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. "Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way...

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado

It surprises no one that the charming but wayward Vadinho dos Guimaraes - a gambler notorious for never winning - dies during Carnival. His long suffering widow Dona Flor devotes herself to her cooking school and her friends, who urge her to remarry. She is soon drawn to a kind pharmacist who is everything Vadinho was not, and is altogether happy to marry him. But after her wedding...

I Am the Chosen King by Helen Hollick

England, 1044. Harold Godwineson, a young, respected Earl, falls in love with an ordinary but beautiful woman. He marries Edyth despite her lack of pedigree, pitting him against his turbulent family and his selfish King, Edward. In France, William, the bastard son of a duke, falls in love with power. Brutal and dangerously smart, William sets his sights on England, finding ambition a...

London by Edward Rutherfurd

Rutherfurd brings this vibrant city's long and noble history alive through the ever-shifting fortunes, fates, and intrigues of half-a-dozen families, from the age of Julius Caesar to the twentieth century. Generation after generation, these families embody the passion, struggle, wealth, and verve of the greatest city in the world.

More Baths Less Talking by Nick Hornby

"Read what you enjoy, not what bores you," Hornby tells us. That simple, liberating, and indispensable directive animates each installment of the celebrated critic and author's monthly column in the Believer. In this delightful and never-musty tour of his reading life, Hornby tells us not just what to read, but how to read. Whether tackling a dismayingly bulky biography of Dickens...

The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Àngels Anglada

In the winter of 1991, at a concert in Krakow, an older woman with a marvelously pitched violin meets a fellow musician who is instantly captivated by her instrument. When he asks her how she obtained it, she reveals the remarkable story behind its origin... Imprisoned at Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp, Daniel feels his humanity slipping away. Treasured memories of the...

The Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch

It's Christmas, 1866, and amateur sleuth Charles Lenox, recently engaged to his best friend, Lady Jane Grey, is happily celebrating the holiday in his Mayfair townhouse. Across London, however, two journalists have just met with violent deaths - one shot, one throttled. Lenox soon involves himself in the strange case, but must leave it behind to go north to Stirrington, where he is...

The Immorality Engine by George Mann

On the surface, life is going well for Victorian special agent Sir Maurice Newbury, who has brilliantly solved several nigh-impossible cases for Queen Victoria with his indomitable assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, by his side. But these facts haven't stopped Newbury from succumbing increasingly frequently to his dire flirtation with the lure of opium. His addiction is fueled in part...

The Seven Dials Mystery by Agatha Christie

Gerry Wade had proved himself to be a champion sleeper, so the other houseguests decided to play a practical joke on him. Eight alarm clocks were set to go off, one after the other, starting at 6:30 a. m. But when morning arrived, one clock was missing and the prank then backfired, with tragic consequences. For Jimmy Thesiger in particular, the words "Seven Dials" were to take on a...

The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Man was born free, but everywhere he is in chains." Thus begins Rousseau's influential 1762 work, in which he argues that all government is fundamentally flawed and that modern society is based on a system of inequality. The philosopher posits that a good government can justify its need for individual compromises and that promoting social settings in which people transcend their...

Up the Line by Robert Silverberg

Being a Time Courier was one of the best jobs Judson Daniel Elliott III ever had. It was tricky, though, taking group after group of tourists back to the same historic event without meeting yoruself coming or going. Trickier still was avoiding the temptation to become intimately involved with the past and interfere with events to come. The deterrents for any such actions were...

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young

For the first time the legendary singer, songwriter, and guitarist offers a kaleidoscopic view of his personal life and musical creativity. He tells of his childhood in Ontario, where his father instilled in him a love for the written word; his first brush with mortality when he contracted polio at the age of five; struggling to pay rent during his early days with the Squires...